Ahead of his meeting with the unions, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation MD Biju Prabhakar told a news media that he would recommend Vigilance probe into the Rs 100 Crore irregularities within the transport corporation. Reportedly, a Kerala finance investigation report shows that there is no proper accounting for Rs 100.75 Crore and no documents for the transfer of money from the chief office to units.
Biju had alleged that the irregularities had occurred from 2012 to 2015 when the current Executive Director KM Sreekumar was the then Accounts Manager. Apart from the latter, the report includes three other names and recommends investigation against them in the apparent irregularities. The report gave strict instructions to form a special unit for the purpose and to recover the missing documents within a month.
While addressing the media yesterday, the MD alleged major irregularities in KSRTC and claimed that nearly Rs 100 Crore was missing during 2012-2015. He further said that actions would be taken against KM Sreekumar and the then Executive Director PM Sharaf Muhammed.
Biju added that the transport corporation was going through a major financial crisis and the decision to sell and lease KSRTC-owned lands was to overcome the severe situation. The MD said that the decision to lease Vikas Bhavan Depot to KIIFB was transparent. “None of the employees will be fired, but the number of people will be reduced,” he said. As a measure to revive the reeling KSRTC, in the first phase, the number of employees will be reduced to 22,000 and then to 15,000 and later to 10,000.
However, the left trade unions are opposing the decision to reduce the numbers, claiming that they cannot allow any development by reducing numbers. They added that the MD’s claim of gaining revenue from the transfer of Vikas Bhavan depot is false. They said that KIIFB, which would receive the land, has no obligation to share a part of the revenue from the land with KSRTC, as the latter has no claim over it. The union is yet to talk with the MD about the formation of K-SWIFT.
The MD had earlier claimed that the corporation would get financial help only by forming the online clearance mechanism SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Fast and Transparent Clearance). Biju envisages the mechanism to help long-distance travelling, and it would dissolve with KSRTC after a decade. KSRTC SWIFT is a new company focussing on long-distance travelling, and KIIFB has allotted Rs 359 crore for buying new buses for the same. The company will procure 310 CNG, 100 Diesel, 50 Electric, 190 KURTC, and 237 more buses including Scania Volvo. The MD further said that some employees are opposing CNG buses to continue cheating in the name of diesel expense. He added that not all employees are seen as such, but at least 10% are involved in such activities. The fraud is not only limited to diesel but also in the ticket machine. Of the employees, 7,090 are still using the old tickets to continue the fraud. Besides, there are irregularities in the procurement of materials in KSRTC workshops. Strict actions will be taken against those who have committed such activities, he stressed.
He added that a comprehensive change would be made in the next three to five years. Moreover, the SWIFT would also place the liability of an accident on the driver and collect the compensation from the latter. With two drivers and a conductor, a double-duty system will be employed providing a reasonable salary.